Location: In orbit of Jutus
Speed: Standard Orbit
Shields: Nominal
Hull: Nominal
Systems: All Systems Nominal

Before we Begin
Episode 11 - Family Matters
Stardate 73834.3
MD004 1400 hrs

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Dinner Long Time Coming

Posted on Tue Aug 20th, 2019 @ 2:42am by Kalen Jacobs & Lieutenant Tallida Ovaa
Edited on on Tue Aug 20th, 2019 @ 3:23am

Mission: Episode 8 - The Silence
Location: Captain's Mess - Deck 2 - USS Pioneer
Timeline: MD001 2000 hrs
2241 words - 4 OF Standard Post Measure

Kalen arrived at the Mess Hall a bit early and with a little help from the Pioneer's support staff. He got a table set with a table cloth, and some fine china. A bottle of champagne was sitting in a bucket on ice and the lights above their table were dimmed for a more romantic feel. He knew how to lay it on when he wanted to. Although at the moment what interested him the most was the looks he got from the support staff when he told them that he was meeting Lieutenant Tallida Ovaa. The looks were as if they all knew something that he didn't. He decided that perhaps it was best to ignore it, Tallida would bring it up if it was important.

Tallida had no idea what to expect when it came to Kalen. She knew, or at least thought she knew, what her expectations were and she somehow doubted they were the same. She had avoided telling Merriam about her dinner with her old flame, she would save that for another day when she had more of her brain engaged. She rounded the corner into the mess as she ran a hand through her light-colored hair. She stopped in her tracks when she saw the table and Kalen standing next to it. Oh my god, he wasn't kidding.

"Hey darlin..." He said with a small devilish grin on his face. "Come on over and have a seat. I am relieved that you came." Kalen popped the cork on the champagne and poured it into the accompanying glasses. He then pulled out her chair as she walked over.

Tallida reached out to touch Kalen's forehead. Not romantically, but as if she was trying to discern if he had a fever. "Are you feeling ok?" she asked as she took the offered chair. As he moved to push her chair in she grabbed the sides and scooted it herself. "I got it Kal. I am not a little kid."

"No... Not a little kid. But a lady and as such you should be treated like a queen. So I pull your chair out. Yes I feel fine thanks." Kalen said as he sat down. "Here is to a rekindled flame." Kalen raised his glass in toast. "So tell me what have you been up to since our paths have last crossed." He laid it on as thick as possible, the goal was to prove that he had changed.

Tallida plucked up her glass, sniffing the beverage before taking a sip all the while watching him. "The last time our path crossed? As in eight years ago? You want me to go back that far?" She took another sip.

"Sure! What brings you this far out? I mean the reason that I am here is Dr Ballston, the Azzians on Empok Nor and well you... But why are you here. I mean someone with your talents can be anywhere and do anything." Kalen replied as he feigned interest.

"Starfleet and the Federation aren't exactly excited about an Angosian Augment being a Starfleet Officer, let alone one of any amount of influence." She said with a self-deprecating tone. She watched him as he easily eyed her. Those eyes and the way they seemed to drink her in was one of the many things she found captivating about him, but something was different. "Honestly, no a lot. I have only been away from Starfleet Medical about two years."

"Then Starfleet has no idea what they are doing. Which is par for the course. I think that you should resign and go into private practice. That will teach them, especially when they realize what they have lost." Kalen smiled she was smart, but a little naive when it came to the language of love. He was pretty sure he had her where he wanted her. The salad course was served, it was a spinach salad with dried cranberries and feta cheese. A greek style dressing was served to accompany it.

Tallida looked at the salad, it was just like Kalen to want her to run away. "That would work, if I were recognized as a federations citizen like everyone else." She smiled taking a bite of the salad. "I remember this salad." She smiled. "Greek, old earth, right?" She asked with a laugh.

"Quite right... Those Greeks know how to eat." He laughed as a forkful went into his mouth. Kalen calculated his next move as he chewed. It was time to feign ignorance, he reckoned. "I have to know if everything I have heard is true. Has the lovely independent Tallida Ovaa fallen in love?"

"Are you talking about Commander Vox?" Tallida replied with a laugh. "I would say that I loved him." She took a sip of the drink. "Not that it matters now, that is way over." She shook her head. It didn't even occur to her that he could have been talking about Neil, she didn't even know where she stood with him.

"Come now do not play coy with me. I mean, it's me Kalen I have known you longer than you have known yourself. Tell me about this Marine, my competition. I mean he can't match you in brilliance the way I can. So one wonders..." Kalen knew how to push her buttons and push he did. A faint smile was on his face as he took a forkful of salad. He knew that he had her on the defense and that is where he needed her.

She looked at him, willing her face to remain passive as she took a bite of her salad. "Captain Tremble?" She asked. "We had a sparring match in the holodeck and I made him dinner as an apology for breaking his rib." She admitted. "Didn't know that was juicy gossip on this ship." She said with a shrug.

"Small ship... But you are right it must be juicy. I mean I have only been here a day and I heard about it. But if there is nothing going on then you are free to brighten a flame that may have diminished. You deserve someone who is more than a punching bag. Someone who is your intellectual equal." Kalen was on the prowl.

"Well, let me know if you find someone like that. He sounds amazing." Tallida replied with a roll of her eyes. She pushed away the mostly eaten salad. She had told herself she was going to play nice but she couldn't stop herself. "Why are you really here Kalen?"

"I think I already have found someone. I mean Lolli come on. Surely you picked up on it by now, I have been dropping hints. Officially I am here to learn all I can about Azzian medicine. Although that is about as interesting as watching lettuce wilt in a salad. However, I jumped at the assignment because you are here. I have missed you my sweet Lolli Pop." He pushed the now finished salad away and signaled for the next course. Servers emerged yet again and cleared the salad. This time they presented a bowl of butternut squash soup for each. When the server requested Kalen took some fresh black pepper in his. The waiter stood next to Tallida now with the mill. "May I?" he asked offering the mill.

Tallida didn't say anything and let the poor man stand there with his metal grinder. She finally looked up at him and nodded. She waited until he was gone before she addressed Kalen. "I know you told me that. But why?" she shook her head. "Why here? Why now? If you want in your life so badly why did you leave? Why did you leave when I needed you." She shook her head as she took a bite of her soup. The only reason she didn't storm out was curiosity.

"I left because I was an impetuous fool..." Kalen knew more than anyone that if he played the self depreciating reformed card, she would buy it hook, line and sinker. "The here and now part is easy. The stars and planets lined up just right. You got assigned to a ship, that an old friend is in command of. Starfleet Medical needed someone to go chat with the Azzians. So here I am, I would have been here sooner too if it wasn't for the space jock that brought me here wanting to make stops everywhere." He added with a smile.

Tallida shook her head. Not good enough. She picked up her glass pausing before raising it to her lips. "I was so excited to see you." She took a sip. "Why couldn't you have just been here to be my friend?" she shook her head. "I give your reason a solid D+ at best."

"I am excited to see you as well. To be honest I am not sure exactly what else you would like me to say. Is it so far fetched that I have cleaned up my act, and I am now ready to be the man that you need. Have you asked yourself why you were so excited to see me? Was it because you wanted to see an old friend, or because that flame is still there, the way it is still there with me." Kalen replied he put just the right amount of passion into his voice to make it believable. He also turned up the charm a bit.

She watched him speak. Saying the words she had always hoped that he would say, and mean. Something wasn't right. Something didn't quite ring true, no matter how much she hated wanted it. "Leopards don't change their spots, Kal." She shook her head. "I am glad you are here. I have met Richard and I know what he is hoping to achieve, and I hope you can help him...but," She let the thought trail off.

"But what... But you are afraid... Afraid that I might be right. That I might just not have been a leopard at all." He smiled. "Lolli I have come all this way for you. Not for Starfleet, Azzia or anything else. For you." Kalen replied and tucked into the soup.

"I am afraid you may have come this far for nothing." She replied simply as she too starting eating the soup. "I am not some, prize to be won." She added. "You are my friend." Standing up for herself was not something she did often.

"I do not look at you as a prize to be won. I look at you as the best thing that ever happened to me, that I let get away. All I am asking is for a chance, a chance to see where it can go when I do not let stubborn youth get in the way." He laid it on thick and knew exactly what to say to get her to go along with it, or at the very least give him a shot. The fact that she had not run away from the table as of yet proved that.

"You can try at whatever you like." Tallida replied taking a spoonful of her soup before pushing the bowl away. She didn't say anything else, she only watched him for a moment. Three weeks ago she would have been jumping for joy if he had said these things to her, but something was different. She was different.

The main course came, turkey with all the trimmings. Kalen smirked for a moment. "There is no try there is only do. Hey why don't we start over. I can see that you have changed for the better. Why don't you give me a chance to show you that I have done the same."

"Kalen," She said with a smile. "I would love to spend more time with you," She relented. "And I love the idea of you settling down and growing up." She gave him a little wink. "I just need you to understand and respect that I am not the Lollie that you remember." She couldn't figure out why she was so against this idea, but agree just didn't feel right.

"Fair enough... That is all a man could ask for is a shot." he replied as he tucked into his steak.

Tallida suddenly didn't want anything else to eat. She looked over at him before rising from her chair. "Thank you for dinner." She moved to hug him not giving him a chance to stand. "I am not feeling well." Which was an obvious lie. "Get a hold of me sometime during transit, perhaps we can have lunch." Giving him a kiss on his cheek she quickly turned and left.

A devilish smile crawled across Kalen's face as he watched her leave. Her abrupt departure could only mean one thing, Kalen had struck a nerve. He knew her well enough to know that everything she said to him was to cover up the fact that he had her, he always had her. Now to figure out how to take care of the Marine. The wheels in his head turned as he continued his meal.

A Joint Post By

Lieutenant Tallida Ovaa
Chief Counselor, USS Pioneer

Dr Kalen Jacobs
Medical Officer, USS Pioneer


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